Special Stage Forums banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's 20 years since I first went to a SCCA stage rally anddrove on nice safe closed roads and then went home and together with the guy who started one minute ahead added each stages times and pored over the results and did average MPHs and tried to asses just what the gap to the leaders was, and what needed to be done to match them.
I didn't think too hard what we were trying to do or show, we were just trying to go as fast as possible and not crash the car (too much!!).
But nobody was spending stupid money on brand new cars, and having expensive shops build the whole car and 'service' them at events.

But times change and now it seems that many believe that they must have the latest stuff in order to even pull up to their first ever stage, and it seems that many seem to think that if they have spent a sheeeet load of money that whatever they are doing in terms of driving must be brilliant.
Especially if the car is new and shiney.

But what I want to know is this:

What is a rally competition attempting to be a showcase of?


Isn't it an event open to all, a "Rally" which attempts top find who drives best on supposedly challenging roads in challenging and variable conditions?
I always joke that if it is supposed to be a competition of what the coolest car is then my old car, my 1969 Saab 96 V4, 1986 Olympus World Rally Championship start No 42 is the coolest car in the World, or maybe the Galaxy, so since that is settled, what do YOU think we are doing.
The club/so called Pro question might come into this discussion but re that question I might ask in advance, Professional appearance might be nice but not if the so called Pros are significantly slower than club cars as has always been the case, or the enpmtiness of Champions who could never finish in the top of the last half in a Club event.


It seems as though we discuss cures for this and that at sometimes heated and high levels without ever addressing, discussing and agreeing what the whole point of what we are doing is.
Much like all new rules (or all rules)should state what the purpose of the rule is, so that one can see if the rule is accomplishing its stated goals, it seems there should be some statement of what a rally is supposed to be.

So re Rally as Competition What does it all mean, Jim???





John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,246 Posts
>>Who are you talking to?
>I believe he is asking the capt of the mighty enterprise.
but then it should have read:

"dammit jim, im a car builder not a promoter!"
 

·
Eis Munky Rally Team
Joined
·
661 Posts
I'm a newbie who has only run TSD to this point... I think his point is this... Is the big money image of more and more rally teams scaring off new blood in the sense that if you don't have a WRX decked out and a fat wallet then shove off?!?

As for me... I think that the shiny high tech cars are cool, and as long as each individual at every level is an ambassador to the sport and welcome noobs into rallying, its fine the way it is and will become! And if I run a 80's Golf and have a better stage time than a shiny AWD monster, then wahoo for me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,132 Posts
I usually agree with JV as I feel there is some silliness going on out there. I say make it national/divisional or all just club.

Here is what I feel people are trying to do:
Everyone is trying to have fun and/or feed their egos. Some want to have fun sooner than later. Some are working on their driving. Some are working on their cars. Some are working on both. Some have lots money and have put a lot into their cars before they have raced much. Some folks have put a lot of money into TAD and VSC as their first move.

I know that I litterally have a TON of improvement to do in my driving. As a matter of fact for POR I'm just going to try and work on technique because I want to get better. Instead of pushing hard and getting frustrated I want to go back a bit and work on DRIVING. It's the cheapest mod and it pays dividends.

The bottom line is that we are dumb Americans with an overblown sense of pride and entitlement. We are in love with image and glitz. We often don't like to work hard for somethings and in the case that we do work hard for them we often act like idiot dumbasses when we get them. Sometimes we get the better of ourselves and we put the car before the horse. I have to remind myself not to everyday.
 

·
Loose nut behind the wheel
Joined
·
1,074 Posts
>Here is what I feel people are trying to do:
>Everyone is trying to have fun and/or feed their egos. Some
>want to have fun sooner than later. Some are working on
>their driving. Some are working on their cars. Some are
>working on both. Some have lots money and have put a lot
>into their cars before they have raced much. Some folks
>have put a lot of money into TAD and VSC as their first
>move.
>
>I know that I litterally have a TON of improvement to do in
>my driving. As a matter of fact for POR I'm just going to
>try and work on technique because I want to get better.
>Instead of pushing hard and getting frustrated I want to go
>back a bit and work on DRIVING. It's the cheapest mod and
>it pays dividends.
>
>The bottom line is that we are dumb Americans with an
>overblown sense of pride and entitlement. We are in love
>with image and glitz. We often don't like to work hard for
>somethings and in the case that we do work hard for them we
>often act like idiot dumbasses when we get them. Sometimes
>we get the better of ourselves and we put the car before the
>horse. I have to remind myself not to everyday.

Dammit Jake. Just when I think I have you pegged, you go and start acting all intelligent and crap. Knock it off! We need a few more loose cannons in this sport and you and Silas were the most promising up and comers :p

Mark Utecht
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,246 Posts
mark, i think he's running out of sentra shells}> that may have something to do with it.

i think you are dead nuts on there jake.

its like the how to be a race car driver series in GRM a couple years ago.

they said there are two types of people in racing:

those who like driving race cars and those who like being race car drivers.

we need to find a place/way for both to exist happily and hopefully make the second group more like the first group in the process.
 

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
>>>Who are you talking to?
>>I believe he is asking the capt of the mighty enterprise.
>
>Ahh..... who cares John, I just want to go slide my car in
>the dirt and not worry about traffic.

Josh, you know that's all a lot of us want to do but if they fundemental ideas of what we are doing isn't discussed and established then we can find the chance to do that drifting away as organisers, the PRB, the paid SCCA rally staff and the guys like youse and mes and the other participants find themselves very possibly working at cross purposes.

But Josh, it IS competition, and competition is at least on the surface about who did what, in our case I believe its supposed to show
WHO DROVE BEST TODAY
and thats the problem.

The discussions on where is the line is or SHOULD be is going in the same troubling direction toward equipment differences and Notes differences to artificially create a 2 tier system which without fail Josh would work to your disadvantage and eventual marginalization, and likely exclusion.

Have we forgotten that it was just a short time ago that the 'benevolent dictator' Spitzner himself decided that anybody in a non nearly new car was IN ADVANCE, by defination 'uninteresting' to any media, and thereby excluded from contact with the press on so called "press day', thereby perpetuating support and awareness of those who already had resources and access, not neccasarily good driving or even high placing.

No Josh we gotta nail down what this stuff we want to do is, before it is transformed into f***ing Cone-squishing.







John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,407 Posts
John VanL,

Bravo! Thanks for asking the question. Its necessary to step back and ask why we do this from time to time. It would be interesting to see everybody's own personal answer...if they can be honest with us (or themselves). :)


Jake,

Excellent way of putting it in perspective.

The common thread is that we all like to drive a car as fast as we can through challenging roads.



edit...ps JVL, did I see on another post that you're going to be a new papa? Congrats if so. If not, ...it wasn't me. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,146 Posts
I am not sure what SCCA is trying to show case but I am very clear on what I wish to show.

I wish to showcase my driving tallent (or lack of it). I also wish to have a very good time doing so. With this clear goal a lot of choices became clear to me. If I ran in Open Class I would be forever out tech'ed by others who are willing to spend more than I at this sport. So I could spend more but that did not solve the fun part, the more I spend the less fun and more stressful the game becomes. Also kicking and stomping all the P, PGT, G2, N and G5 cars in an Open class car is not seen as much of a acheivement so it would not showcase my skill much now would it.

At the other end of the spectrum the P class is a nice level lower cost class but it again just was not quite there on the fun factor. The P class cars I have driven just do not feel all that fun to me... always leaving me wanting more and hating the 2 to 3 shift. Also the potential for out standing overall results is out of reach in a P car.

So in the end I sold my open class car and did up a Gp2 car. It cost less than the typical PGT car and it is a real race car, it has all the good parts that make driving it a blast. Quick steering, close ratio gearbox and solid brakes. The freedoms of Gp2 also let me make it strong so stuff does not fall off when I hit things.

As far as showcasing, well I think when we finished 9th Overall at my last rally ahead of all the Gp5, PGT and P cars, and mixing it up with the Open class cars people started to notice. Also because driving a Gp2 faster than all the PGT cars takes some effort I had a blast, I was trully driving the car and it was responding. A lot of spectators also liked the show though I did get outclassed by Nate in his Gp2 Sabb who was just a wee bit faster than me on most stages, he was more sideways than I was and the spectaotrs liked that!

So baiscally I think people like Nate Tenis, Doug Shepard, Scott Fuller, Todd Hartmand, and I are showcasing driving tallent while having a good time getting the most out of our 2wd cars. I am not sure what the others are showing, especially the ones who do not make results with there shinny expensive cars.

Derek
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
789 Posts
Why? Because we're motorheads who somehow found out about rallying.

Why all the big buck cars? The prior involvement of the "Factory Teams" and Speed Tv's WRC coverage... "I want to be just like..(name a WRC star)...",ego, etc., etc.

Given the economy and the factory pull-outs, the big buck cars will recede into the background.

While people will unfortunately learn the hard way with their pocketbooks, different winners (and super-competitive GN)this season is kind of interesting.
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
2,252 Posts
For those of you living in a cave, or those that don't speak VanLandinghamish, John's basic position has been that since our cars are on average too expensive, we drive them like wimps to avoid hurting them. If we all got less expensive or older simpler cars, we'd beat on them more and provide more exciting driving. The point is debatable, but I'll be the first to admit it does have some merit. Afterall, I've slowed down to save the car. So, let's just assume for the moment that John is right. If we sold our evos and WRX's, bought xrattys and volvos, we'd all drive like maniacs, the fans would flock to the woods, the sponsors would come, and Finland would envy us. Why then, would anybody want an expensive faster car? Well, I can think of a couple reasons:

1. Some people are horsepower/speed junkies. They get their rocks off by throwing lotsa gravel and blasting out of corners. They may suck going in, but they don't coming out.

2. Some people are technophiles. The drool over the latest diffs, aftermarket fuel computers, titanium turbos, sexy AP brakes, anything carbon fiber, etc... They simply like the coolest latest gadgets and stuff, and they want a place to use them. For the record, I'm one of these guys.

3. Some poeple are super competitive, and want to win. They will do whatever it takes. They'd have the most expensive "cheap" cars out there because they would take anything to the max in order to gain that last few percent.

4. Some people are just flat out wealthy and don't care. They can afford to spend more so they do because it doesn't make a giant dent in the pocket book. They can afford the best, why not get it? For the record, this probably doesn't describe very many if any current NA rally competitors. This year it seems EVERYONE is being mindful of their budgets.

5. Some people have sponsors who require them to be in a certain level of equipment. It could be a car dealer, manufacturer, aftermarket supplier, whatever, but if someone is giving you money you are obliged to make every effort to give them something in return. If this means stepping up in car spec, than so be it. The alternative is funding yourself, which sucks.

So John, to maybe answer your question, that's why guys build WRX's and Evos. Other things to keep in mind:

1. You are a highly experienced fabricator and car builder. Other guys aren't. Some guys don't know which end of screwdriver to turn. While shops like TAD and VSC may not be cheap as doing it yourself, it will probably be more cost effective for some guys to work a few extra hours at their day job (or second job), a job that they are good at, and pay the pros to do what the pros are good at.

2. Rally is a technology based sport. What I mean by that is our sport is constantly testing and developing new technology. The opposite would be NASCAR, where technology has been essentially frozen for the last 20 years. Although it's good racing, what has NASCAR contributed to the auto industry technology wise recently? Not much, maybe some tire tech and some lubricants. Rally on the other hand is an incredible proving ground for OEM technology. The electronic AWD systems that grace our highway clogging SUVs today were most likely devoloped in the rally cars of yesterday. Same goes for suspensions, body shells, turbochargers, aero packages, wheels/tires, etc... While freezing or regressing technology seems like a tempting idea in order to lower costs for the competitors, ultimatly it will destroy one of the unique aspects of the sport that gives rally value.

3. Don't dispense the trickle down theory. Yes I know as a devout liberal you don't believe in the trickle down theory, but it works. Yesterdays pro cars are todays club cars. A few years back the eclipse used to be the hot car, and was considered high buck, but now they can be had for under $10k in full rally trim. More and more we are seeing fast, high quality cars being sold for reasonable prices to club competitors. The trickle down theory works elsewhere also. For example, guys like Seamus Burke and others keep TAD healthy, and in turn TAD takes care of hacks like me. Murray couln't survive on my parts bills alone, but because he has a large client base that gives TAD good income, he can afford to stock and sell the oddball parts I need at a reasonable price. I also get the benefit of his knowledge and testing, all of which was gained on someone else's buck. Truth be told, I probably owe guys like Burke, Drislane, Lawless, etc... for the ideas and insight TAD gave me based on work they did on these guys' cars.

4. At the end of day 1 at OFPR, we something like 10 cars within a minute or so of each other. That's good racing. The bar has been raised as far as driving goes. If there is a problem with driving, it's fixing itself, and fast.

The bottom line is that the proliferation of high caliber cars isn't all bad, and in fact it is having a positive impact on the sport. Not matter what you do the sport will always gravitate the top end of whatever specification you throw out there. This is inevetible, and instead of worrying about it, we should figure out how to better capitalize on it so that more people can enjoy the stupity of flying through the woods.


Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 

·
400 flat to crest
Joined
·
5,777 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Dennis, good stuff and I'll respond as soon as I weld Josh Wimpeys strut bottoms and zoom down to UPS and 3 day them out to his Washington DC address.

But Dennis, very narrowly and very fundementally:
What are we trying to say a 'rally' supposed to be showing or proving or testing?

Of course I know all messages (what we are doing, the ansewr is X is a statement of sorts to ourselves, and to others) depend on what the recipient percieves, but what do you want rally sto be a venue for and what are we selling (showing) other 'non hardcore rally loons' that SCCA or NorthAmerican Rally in general is.

Remember, there is no real agument which car is better, my 69 Saab is the best.
So.........????????





John Vanlandingham
Seattle, WA. 98168

Vive le Prole-le-ralliat
 

·
don't cut
Joined
·
2,252 Posts
>
>But Dennis, very narrowly and very fundementally:
>What are we trying to say a 'rally' supposed to be showing
>or proving or testing?

"We" are trying to prove who the best rally driver is. You are entirely correct that we could do that with anything from Pintos to Peugots. But if it was simply about proving that I was better than someone else, I would go circle track racing or something boring like that. We choose to prove ourselves in the rally arena for many reasons, one of which is that we have the oppurtunity to use super cool cars like Evos and WRX's and Focuscorts, etc... These cars are every bit as much of the rally experience as a Mk1 Escort or Saab Sonnet.

It's easy to see where some of our earlier marketing efforts may have been misguided by pushing for faster and more expensive cars. Making rally as popular as Nascar just wasn't realistic. And while every driver dreams of being the next Loeb or Solberg, I think most of us would be ecstatic just to get our costs covered. I would like to see rally marketing efforts move in that direction.

So guess to answer your question I'd like to "show" or "prove" that North American rallying can be a healthy, viable motorsport in which drivers can start out modestly and inexpensively, yet still be able to ascend to a high level of competition and performance while being supported by a steady fan and sponsor base. In other words, I'd like for the average guy to be able to buy a cheap car, kick it around, and if he's any good move up the ranks to some faster hipo equipment without winning the lottery or taking out a third mortgage.

>
>
>Remember, there is no real agument which car is better, my
>69 Saab is the best.
>So.........????????
>
>
No way, Andrew Havas' RX-7 is the best!

Dennis Martin
[email protected]
920-432-4845
 
G

·
Rally should showcase spirit, it's can do, never say die ethos.

The cars are secondary. The cars are simultaneously allies for our cause, and another potential foe on the journey.

Where does "the public" fit in?

The public is too busy being bottle fed Starbucks at the local strip mall to venture out and remember what it's like to stand in the trees during the first snow on an autumn day.

They don't know what it is to fall, get back up, and try again.

The adrenaline comes prepackaged in a PS2- need more? Waddle down to Wal-Mart and buy another game, courtesy of your Mastercard. No sacrifice or effort required.



Rally is a gathering. A gathering of people that care enough to try.
 

·
1973 WRC POR
Joined
·
2,421 Posts
>John why dont you show up at Wild West and show us how its
>done "The Old School Way"?

There have been a number of posts in the past month or so which have suggested that JVL should enter a rally and show everyone what he can still do.

Really, these are inappropriate.

If you absorb John's posts (which I have to admit can be a bit of a challenge sometimes), I see him putting forth two main thrusts/opinions.

One has to do with car preparation and the importance of spending your money wisely on the correct vehicle modifications (while at the same time, he provides everyone with a lot of usefull information).

The second has to do with the level of driving talent that currently exists in North America and how this might be improved.

Now, John has asked a very astute question here in this thread. The essence of which is "why do we particpate in rallying"? It would make for some very interesting reading, if we were all to respond to this thread.

So, let's hear from everyone out there on SpecialStage.com.

Why do you particpate in rallying?

Doug Woods
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top